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Haines to face moderate foe in November

THE BALTIMORE SUN

District 5 state Sen. Larry E. Haines, a Republican, will face a Democratic opponent in the November election who calls herself a moderate and is interested in improving education and attracting new business to Carroll County while responsibly handling growth.

Voters will have a clear choice in the general election about whom they want in the Senate.

Mr. Haines, a Westminster resident, is a conservative who owns a small business and has received national attention for his efforts to convince the state that parents aren't abusing their children if they spank them. He is vice president of the Church of the Open Door Inc.

Two Democrats are running in the September primary for the seat. Both describe themselves as moderates. Neither has held state office.

Cynthia Huggins Cummings of Silver Run has been a fourth-grade teacher for 16 years and president of the 1,250-member county teachers union the past three years. In that role, she has lobbied in Annapolis and raised money for candidates.

Rachelle Feldman-Hurwitz of Uniontown has been a member of community groups dealing with environmental, women's and other issues. Last year, she was involved in efforts in Annapolis to enact a domestic violence bill.

Voters may learn more about the two Democrats if they debate. Ms. Feldman-Hurwitz challenged Ms. Cummings to debate the issues, and she accepted, but they cannot agree on a site.

Ms. Cummings would like to debate at a meeting of the Carroll County Democratic Club, but Ms. Feldman-Hurwitz said that is not "a neutral place." She said she would rather hold the event in a Veterans of Foreign Wars hall and invite the public.

Ms. Cummings said it would be more appropriate for a primary race debate to be held at the Democratic club level. She is a member of the club, which meets monthly at the Frisco Family Pub in Westminster.

Ms. Feldman-Hurwitz is a former member; she quit after the 1992 elections.

4 "Their mentality is not my mentality," she said.

Both Democrats said they will knock on doors this summer to meet voters and gain name recognition.

Ms. Cummings, 52, was elected to the Carroll County Democratic Central Committee four years ago and is running for the position again. She is a Baltimore native who has lived in the county for 16 years.

She said she wanted to run for higher office in the past, but didn't because of the expense. Her family's financial situation changed recently when her husband, Charles, got a new job, "and he said to go for it."

"I think I represent the viewpoint of the mainstream in Carroll County," she said.

The mainstream is "people who care about education and the community. They care about values. They recognize there's growth in Carroll County, but want to preserve that rural atmosphere that makes it so appealing," Ms. Cummings said.

She will focus on "Cindy's Five C's" -- crime, communities, classrooms, career development and communication.

Ms. Cummings said she is meeting with police officers, public defenders and others in the community to hear about various issues and possible solutions.

Mr. Haines, a Westminster real estate broker, is tied to special interest groups, such as Realtors, she said.

She said she would be open to more viewpoints. She is part of a special-interest group -- public school teachers -- but said education plays a part in many aspects of county life, including attracting new businesses and reducing crime.

"Improving education must come first before we can solve any other problems," Ms. Cummings said.

If elected, she said, she would work to bring more money to Carroll to improve roads and build schools to keep up with growth. The state also should work to reduce class size by hiring more teachers, she said.

To increase the tax base, Ms. Cummings said she would work to attract light industry and tourism events to Carroll to create new jobs.

Ms. Feldman-Hurwitz, 43, said she also will focus on improving education. She has two children in elementary school and a son in college, and said she has spent many hours volunteering in her children's classrooms.

The state does not have to raise taxes to hire more teacher's aides to give students more attention in class; it should shift money from other programs, such as those that educate prisoners, she said.

"I'm tired of tax and spend," she said.

To help deter young people from crime, Ms. Feldman-Hurwitz said, children should visit jails in their community by the time they finish third grade. "They'll see this is very real punishment," she said.

Ms. Feldman-Hurwitz also would like to toughen penalties for people convicted of violent crimes against anyone 62 or older.

"Criminals see senior citizens as prey," she said.

"I'm sensitive, but I'm going to be tough so Carroll County remains a safe community," Ms. Feldman-Hurwitz said.

She is a Staten Island, N.Y., native who has lived in Carroll County 10 years. She has worked as a marketing consultant for (( computer and financial companies.

Earlier this year, she was the vice chairwoman of the county's Waste-to-Energy Committee, which studied whether the county should build an incinerator to burn trash. She also chaired a steering committee to form a Carroll County Commission for Women; the effort failed in the General Assembly this year.

Mr. Haines, 55, who defeated former Carroll Commissioner J. Jeffrey Griffith in 1990, said he will run on his record.

"I've been campaigning the four years I've been in office," he said. "I always take the opposition serious. I won't let up."

He expected about 1,000 people to attend his fifth annual old-fashioned family picnic at the Carroll County Agriculture Center yesterday.

The senator has received attention for his attempts to convince state authorities that parents aren't abusing their children if they spank them. His efforts have been mentioned in USA Weekend, a nationally circulated magazine, and he has been invited to appear on a syndicated TV talk show on the subject "To hit or not to hit." A spokesman for the "Rolonda" show in New York said the show on spanking has been postponed.

Mr. Haines sponsored two bills related to spanking in the 1994 legislative session. Neither passed. He said he will reintroduce them next year.

He said he kept campaign promises to be tougher on criminals. This year, he sponsored a bill to make it a felony for an adult to bring a minor into Maryland to sell drugs. The measure was signed into law.

Next year, he said, he plans to reintroduce legislation designed to limit punitive damages in civil lawsuits. That would help reduce the cost of health care, insurance and other services, he said.

Mr. Haines is rated highly by Maryland Business for Responsive Government -- a group that followers lawmakers' votes on business-related issues.

He said he would like to write welfare reform legislation to allow recipients to work and continue to receive some benefits until they can support themselves.

"Welfare was designed to be a safety net to help people through tough times," Mr. Haines said.

He also said he would push for a full-service Motor Vehicle Administration office in Westminster. He suggested that the state invest in one building to house the MVA and state police barracks.

If he wins the November election, Mr. Haines said, he will begin campaigning for a leadership position in Annapolis. He would like to be the Senate minority leader or minority whip. In either of those positions, he would help gather votes for Republican legislation and guide bills through the process.

Mr. Haines also said he would like to run for the 6th District congressional seat now held by Roscoe G. Bartlett, possibly in 1998.

"I don't have any aspirations to run against a sitting Republican congressman as long as he's doing a good job," he said. "I would like to serve at least four more years in the Maryland General Assembly. In fact, it will be a very pleasant time if we have a Republican governor."

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